Gardening is great hobby for many people—it allows you to get outside, enjoy fresh air, and connect with nature. While gardening in a wheelchair is certainly different than traditional gardening, it is still possible and encouraged. In fact, it can have many therapeutic effects for those who garden in wheelchairs. Gardening can help you relax after a long day of work, meditate in the morning, or kill time in an afternoon. You may just have to make a few modifications to your garden in order to continue one of your favorite hobbies.
The first thing you should do before you begin gardening after being in a wheelchair is to test your limits, and know how far you’re able to reach in your chair. Of course, you can read your owner’s manual for additional safety information. If you can only reach at waist height, move your plants to planters so you aren’t stressing your body and you can still care for your plants. Knowing how far you can reach and setting goals for what you would like to do in your garden will help you decide what kinds of modifications need to be made to your garden.
An important consideration for your garden is that the paths must now be wide enough for your chair. You want to be able to experience your garden without any hindrances, which means wide paths that make it easy to roll through and turn around when needed are essential to a comfortable garden. It’s much easier to move your garden out of the way (literally) if you put it in planters and hanging baskets, so it may be a good idea to consider transplanting your garden to containers that can be moved.
Finally, consider investing in some additional gardening tools to help your move around your garden, such as tools that will give you additional arm length and allow you to reach places in your garden you wouldn’t have otherwise been able to get to. There are tons of tools out there, and finding ones that are specific to your needs will ultimately give you the most range and versatility in the garden.
It isn’t difficult to continue gardening while in a wheelchair. The key is to know your capabilities and make adjustments to your current garden accordingly. You may even think of these changes as a sort of renovation. Summer is here, don’t waste another minute indoors—get outside and begin gardening today!
Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation, Accessed June 6, 2016